Posted On July 15, 2014 by PUSC
Athletes know that maintaining strong muscles and bones is the best way to prevent injuries while playing sports. But strengthening your joints and ligaments play a huge role in keeping your body in good physical condition, too. The most common type of ligament injury happens in the ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, which is one of four ligaments in the knee.
How can you prevent an ACL injury? According to an article on About.com’s Sports Medicine page:
“Athletes can reduce their risk of ACL injuries by performing training drills that require balance, power and agility. Adding plyometric exercises, such as jumping, and balance drills helps improve neuromuscular conditioning and muscular reactions and ultimately shows a decrease in the risk of ACL injury.”
ACL injuries are most common in sports that require a lot of quick feet movement and twisting, such as basketball, football, and soccer. Soccer players and parents of young ones participating in a Rocklin soccer program should take extra care to prevent these injuries.
Here are 4 ways for you or your children strengthen the ligaments to avoid injuries.
Extremely important for any sport, stretching should be done before and after physical activity. Ensuring that you or your child is stretching properly is equally important. Focus on each muscle in your legs individually, including the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, inner thighs, and hip flexors. Don’t overstretch, or you’ll risk pulling muscles. Skipping the stretching phase often increases your risk of injury later on.
Doing isolated exercises such as lunges and single toe raises will help strengthen your muscles and ligaments. These exercises can also improve your balance, which will help to prevent injuries.
These exercises are slightly higher impact, so you’ll want to do them on a soft surface, like a padded gym floor or soft grass. Do several reps of back-and-forth jumps over a line or a six-inch cone. Be sure to accept the weight on the balls of your feet, and keep your knees slightly bent to better allocate the pressure. Since these exercises have a cardio element as well, be sure to keep yourself hydrated.
Fast and accurate footwork is the key to becoming a great player in any Rocklin youth soccer programs. Practice your agility by performing shuttle runs, diagonal runs, and bounding runs. Again, remember to keep your knees slightly bent and accept the pressure of each footfall on the balls of your feet, and keep drinking water to stay hydrated.
Practicing these five simple exercises will not only improve your game, but it will also help you make an investment in the future health of your ligaments, joints, muscles, and entire body.